Blayney Shire Council, Wiradjuri Elders and the Blayney Multipurpose Service (MPS) is marking National Reconciliation Week from 27 May to 3 June by holding a traditional Aboriginal cultural event and community BBQ on Thursday 1 June from 11am to 12 noon at Blayney MPS.
Reconciliation Day celebrates two significant anniversaries in Australia's reconciliation journey –50 years since the 1967 referendum and 25 years since the historic Mabo decision.
Blayney MPS Health Service Manager, Kathy Hillier said the day will be an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate our commitment to Aboriginal health through Wiradjuri art and culture.
“Reconciliation Day is an opportunity to bring our community together and celebrate our Aboriginal history and culture," Kathy said.
“We're bringing together staff from the MPS, Wiradjuri Elders and the Blayney Shire Council to further strengthen respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Aboriginal people in the Blayney community."
“The day will include an Aboriginal flag raising ceremony and a performance of Aboriginal dancing and music."
The event will culminate in the launch of the Blayney Aboriginal Art and Signage Program which is part of the wider Western NSW Local Health District Aboriginal art project.
“The program aims to enhance the cultural environment of the facility and increase access to health services for Aboriginal people through implementing a strategy that increases visibility of Aboriginal artwork and language in the MPS," Kathy said.
“Local Wiradjuri artist and Elder, Nyree Reynolds has completed a series of Aboriginal paintings for the walls in the main hallway which culminates in four paintings telling the story of the Blayney Shire pre-settlement."
Internal signage has been developed to include Wiradjuri words while external doors will have Aboriginal art frosting aimed at creating a more welcoming space for Aboriginal people.
“The artwork and signage looks amazing and I hope that it helps make Aboriginal people feel more welcome in our health facility," Kathy said.
Blayney Shire Mayor, Cr Scott Ferguson said the day is an important event for the Blayney Shire community to recognise and acknowledge our cultural heritage and significance.
“Celebrating art and culture of the Wiradjuri people helps us better understand the area's history and further strengthens our connection with the traditional owners of the land," Mr Ferguson said.
“Blayney Shire Council launched new tourism billboards which feature on the Mid Western Highway as part of NAIDOC Week 2016 and this latest project is an extension of the relationships built over time with the Wiradjuri people."
Community members are welcome to come along to a BBQ hosted by volunteers from the Blayney Rotary Club on the day from 12pm.
Blayney Shire Council working in partnership with local Wiradjuri Elders and Western NSW Local Health District is making this community event possible after securing $5000 in grant funding under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) Culture and Capability Programme from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to help communities celebrate National Reconciliation Week 2017 with particular emphasis on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Mabo High Court decision.